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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Morphologic and molecular changes induced by recombinant human leptin in the white and brown adipose tissues of C57BL/6 mice.

Leptin is a 16-kd protein synthesized and secreted by adipose tissue, which regulates adiposity and body weight. To investigate the peripheral effects of recombinant human leptin, lean C57BL/6 mice were treated with subcutaneous injections of vehicle or 20 mg/kg/day leptin for 1 to 14 days. Groups of animals were killed on Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, or 8 and 15 to evaluate the time course of clinical chemistry, morphologic, and molecular changes in white (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT) depots. There was a progressive daily reduction in the body weight of mice receiving leptin. By Day 15, the body weight of leptin-treated groups decreased by 6% to 8% relative to base-line weight. Clinical chemistry changes in treated mice included decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. At necropsy, the mice had rapidly progressive atrophy of subcutaneous, intra-abdominal, and retroperitoneal WAT and interscapular BAT depots, with complete depletion of fat stores by Days 3 to 4 in most females and by Days 7 to 14 in male mice. Histologically, white and brown adipocytes underwent marked atrophy with loss of lipid droplets and activation of BAT cells in WAT depots. Ultrastructurally, white and brown adipocytes contained numerous, enlarged mitochondria. Molecular analysis of key adipose tissue genes in brown and white fat depots revealed a rapid, selective increase in the mRNA expression of thermogenic proteins and lipolytic enzymes, including uncoupling proteins 1 and 2, lipoprotein lipase, and hormone-sensitive lipase, with decreases in the lipogenic enzyme fatty acid synthase, endogenous leptin, and cytochrome c oxidase. These data suggest that the peripheral effects of leptin include increased thermogenesis and lipid oxidation in brown fat coupled with increased lipolysis and decreased fat synthesis in white and brown fat, which lead to a rapid reduction in the body weight and adiposity of mice.[1]


  1. Morphologic and molecular changes induced by recombinant human leptin in the white and brown adipose tissues of C57BL/6 mice. Sarmiento, U., Benson, B., Kaufman, S., Ross, L., Qi, M., Scully, S., DiPalma, C. Lab. Invest. (1997) [Pubmed]
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